We’ve all been there: it’s December 24, and suddenly you realize you’ve forgotten to get a gift for your mom, husband, niece, grandfather, boss, landlord, best friend, or even your dog. Running out to the mall and grabbing a last-minute present is all well and good if you’ll be seeing the recipient in person the next day, but when it comes to sending holiday gifts to your out-of-state or international loved ones, the earlier you can shop (and ship!), the better.
When you’re shipping holiday gifts to another state, you need to build in a bigger buffer to allow your packages time to safely arrive at their destination. This means finishing your holiday shopping in October or November and shipping your packages as early as you can.
In addition to ensuring your gifts arrive on time, shipping your holiday packages as soon as possible can also help save you a little money. For the 2017 holiday season, UPS will be adding surcharges ranging from $0.27-$0.97 per package to US customers shipping to residential addresses in November and December. These surcharges may be unavoidable for smaller packages, but for larger boxes or non-traditional gifts like furniture, you can avoid them altogether by shipping your holiday gifts with an LTL (less than truckload) shipping company. Whether you’re shipping large boxes (possibly full of smaller boxes), a vintage china cabinet, or a set of table and chairs large enough to seat all your distant cousins, LTL shipping companies like TSI can help you get your packages where they need to be safely and efficiently.
To help ensure your packages and holiday gifts make it to their destinations on time, we’ve answered some of the most common holiday shipping questions:
1. When should I ship my holiday gifts?
UPS processes and ships roughly 30 million packages per day during the holiday season - that’s 11 million more packages every day compared to the rest of the year. The increased load can lead to delays in processing that you can avoid by mailing your smaller packages before their stated deadline (usually a few days before Christmas).
There is no fixed deadline for when to ship your holiday gifts with an LTL shipping company. As a rule, the earlier you can ship your boxes or furniture, the better. Regardless of what you’re shipping, the longer you wait, the more you will pay to ensure your packages arrive on time for Christmas.
2. What’s the best way to pack my gifts or furniture?
Smaller parcels packed into larger boxes, as well as furniture, can shift in transit, which can in turn lead to damage. Packing your gifts properly is the best way to ensure they make it to their destination safely. Follow these tips when packing your holiday gifts:
- Make a list of everything you’re shipping. This will help you stay on track and make sure you don’t forget anything, and it’ll also make it easier to ensure everyone receives the right package.
- Use enough tape. Don’t worry about wasting tape - make sure you seal the seams of your packages securely. Don’t use household or duct tape.
- Keep boxes below 30 lbs. Anything heavier is more likely to break open in transit.
- Don’t underpack boxes. If you can hear things rattling around, there’s too much space. Add extra padding, like peanuts or bubble wrap, to secure your gifts.
- Empty and clean furniture before shipping. Disassemble what you can, and secure drawers and doors by covering your furniture in moving blankets then wrapping it in shrink wrap.
- For glass, mirrors, or framed artwork, tape an X across the surface. This will help the glass stay in place if it cracks in transit. To prevent breakage altogether, wrap glass items in packing paper and several layers of bubble wrap, then box and fill empty spaces with packing peanuts. And of course, label the box as “FRAGILE”.
Check out our full list of packing tips for more pointers.
3. Can gifts be wrapped?
Non-traditional gifts like furniture or bicycles should not be wrapped, unless they’re also crated. If you’re shipping several smaller packages inside a larger box or crate, the smaller packages can be wrapped, as long as they are securely packed inside a larger container before shipping. Just don’t let the desire for a beautifully wrapped gift get in the way of proper packing techniques!
4. What are the most common items that people want to ship, but can’t?
TSI can ship anything that’s too large for UPS or Fedex. We can’t ship small parcels, but if you’re getting your daughter a new china cabinet, we’re the right choice.
We also can’t ship food, just in case you were planning on gifting someone a fruitcake.
5. How does TSI respond to winter weather?
Does wearing warm clothes count? If the roads are clear, our trucks are moving.
6. What happens if a shipment is delayed?
We do our best to keep customers informed of changes in the date of their shipment, but if you have any questions, you can always call and talk to one of our knowledgeable representatives. Our delivery dates are estimates, not guarantees, which is how we can provide such low rates.
7. TSI has two levels of service: Economy and White Glove. When should I opt for White Glove service over Economy service?
If you’re looking to save money, the Economy option is always better. But if you’re looking for stress-free service or aren’t able to lift your heavy items, White Glove would be the better choice.
8. Should I insure my shipment?
All shipments include a base level of federally-mandated insurance. Whether you purchase additional coverage is entirely up to you. If you’re gifting fragile, valuable, or antique furniture, shipping insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that your gift will be covered in case it gets damaged in transit.
Happy Holiday Shipping
If you’re sending holiday gifts to out-of-state or international loved ones, the earlier you start the process, the better.